"My six-year-old was diagnosed as having 'a mild case of ADHD,' and the doctor said that he can’t do anything for him. How severe does a child’s ADHD have to be for him to receive treatment? My son’s struggling at school—he isn’t learning, and he can’t stay on track. What can we do?"
by Larry Silver, M.D.
As long as the physician established the correct diagnosis, the term “mild” is not helpful in treating attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “Mild” by whose standards?
If symptoms of ADHD are interfering with a major life activity—school, home life, interactions with peers—the disorder should be treated.
Since your son is having trouble at school, he may benefit from treatment. You may need to find another professional who’s more comfortable treating younger children with ADHD.
One other thought. You say that your son is struggling at school. Between 30 and 50 percent of children with ADHD also have a learning disability, which can explain why some children aren't able to learn and also cannot seem to stay on track. Discuss this concern with his teacher, and pursue a learning evaluation with the school.